Polyol pathway links glucose metabolism to the aggressiveness of cancer cells

Schwab A, Siddiqui A, Vazakidou ME, Napoli F, Böttcher M, Menchicchi B, Raza U, Saatci O, Krebs A, Ferrazzi F, Rapa I, Dettmer-Wilde K, Waldner M, Ekici AB, Rasheed SAK, Mougiakakos D, Oefner PJ, Sahin O, Volante M, Greten FR, Brabletz T, Ceppi P (2018)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2018


DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-2834


Cancer cells alter their metabolism to support their malignant properties. In this study, we report that the glucose-transforming polyol pathway (PP) gene aldo-keto-reductase-1-member-B1 (AKR1B1) strongly correlates with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). This association was confirmed in samples from lung cancer patients and from an EMT-driven colon cancer mouse model with p53 deletion. In vitro, mesenchymal-like cancer cells showed increased AKR1B1 levels, and AKR1B1 knockdown was sufficient to revert EMT. An equivalent level of EMT suppression was measured by targeting the downstream enzyme sorbitol-dehydrogenase (SORD), further pointing at the involvement of the PP. Comparative RNA sequencing confirmed a profound alteration of EMT in PP-deficient cells, revealing a strong repression of TGF-? signature genes. Excess glucose was found to promote EMT through autocrine TGF-? stimulation, while PP-deficient cells were refractory to glucose-induced EMT. These data show that PP represents a molecular link between glucose metabolism, cancer differentiation, and aggressiveness, and may serve as a novel therapeutic target.

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Schwab, A., Siddiqui, A., Vazakidou, M.E., Napoli, F., Böttcher, M., Menchicchi, B.,... Ceppi, P. (2018). Polyol pathway links glucose metabolism to the aggressiveness of cancer cells. Cancer Research. https://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-2834


Schwab, Annemarie, et al. "Polyol pathway links glucose metabolism to the aggressiveness of cancer cells." Cancer Research (2018).

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